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Harmon debuts two compact 5.1 home theater sound systems

Home theater fans will tell you that a superior sound system is an essential element to any surround-sound setup…but anyone who has had to live with a superior sound system will also tell you it can be like watching a film from the front row of a death metal concert. Sure, there might be a movie playing somewhere, but most of what you notice is your nose pressed right up against a speaker grille. And a distinct lack of personal space.

Harman International is looking to address these concerns, announcing its new JBL Cinema 300 and JBL Cinema 500 5.1 surround sound home theater packages, which claim to offer powerful, high quality audio with a small-and-stylish footprint. The systems are among the smallest that Harman has ever products, but they still deliver powerful bass, clear dialog, and highly-defined music.

Harman JBL Cinema 500 speaker system

“JBL was there when music was paired with film for the first time ever,” said Harman consumer division president David Slump, in a statement. “With the new Cinema series speakers, we’re truly excited to showcase the same legendary technology and expertise that made JBL famous in a way that can be experienced in the comfort of your own home.”

The systems sport four identical satellite speakers with PolyPlas cones: the 300 series have a single 3-inch driver while the 500’s satellite speakers have dual 3-inch cones and a lower crossover point. The systems also feature an 8-inch down-firing subwoofer (100 watts in the 300 series, 150 watts in the 500 series), and a center channel speaker with dual 3-inch PolyPlas cones that can handle up to 100 watts. All the speakers sport video shielding (so they won’t pick up buzz from your TV, and all feature JBL Weave “aesthetic” styling so they can blend with many decors.

The systems are available now, with the JBL Cinema 300 system carrying a suggested price of $499, while the JBL Cinema 500 series goes for $699.

Harman JBL Cinema 300 speaker system